There’s an app for that! I recently saw a commercial for an app called Calm. When you use it, it gives you 30 seconds of calming sound and music. While it’s a short term fix for stress, I’ve discovered how to have a reservoir of calm.
Six months into starting my own business, I had taken my eyes off Jesus and was consumed by fear. The dread of having to sell my services, a lack of consistent income, and a feeling of complete incompetence were themes playing in my head like a broken record. In the midst of this toxic swirl of fear, I began looking for a place to withdraw, to be with Jesus, away from the ever-present din of work and family responsibilities.
I discovered Penuel Ridge, a contemplative, interfaith retreat center less than an hour from my home. I made arrangements for a silent retreat – no speaking, no music, just time away to pour out my heart to the Lord and to listen.
In March of 2007, I packed a small bag, comfortable clothes, tennis shoes, my Bible and my journal and headed for Penuel, knowing full well the retreat center was named for the place where Jacob wrestled with God! I wasn’t too sure what I was seeking, I just knew I help to stop the swirling in my mind.
I spent the next 24 hours sitting still, journaling, listening, hiking. Near the end of my morning hike, I heard the babble of water. I saw a small brook that tumbled into a waterfall. It was living water, flowing refreshing, speaking to me in the Spirit. I sat there for hours as I realized God had brought me to Penuel to lie down in green pastures, and to restore my soul. (Psalm 23)
In the ensuing years, I have been to Penuel retreat center many times and have found other places of solitude as well. The choice to retreat, to become silent and still, has helped me develop a deep reservoir of calm. This reservoir has become an essential part of my life. Yet, it is also a constant struggle to be still and to seek solitude. The busyness of the world so often takes precedence. Choosing solitude and stillness gives me a deep and abiding supply of calm to draw on as I face my fears, and as I lead, teach and mentor. There’s NO app for that!